KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Calif.’s Medicaid Expansion Renews Concerns About Doc Pay

Some advocates fear that state efforts to cut payments to doctors and other providers will make it hard for new enrollees to get care. Also, committees in Texas and Idaho look at ways to expand care for low-income residents.

Los Angeles Times: Medi-Cal Struggles To Provide Services To Ever-Growing Clientele
Concerns about access to care have taken on a new urgency since Medi-Cal enrollment began to swell in the wake of President Obama's federal healthcare overhaul. The program, the state's second-largest expense after schools, is expected to cover one in three Californians by next year. But the current state budget continues a 10% cut in reimbursements to some healthcare providers, a lingering sore point for advocates, lobbyists and lawmakers who have pushed to reverse the reduction (Megerian, 8/14).

Houston Chronicle: Lawmakers Seek "Texas Solution" On Health Care
State lawmakers renewed efforts Thursday to find a "Texas solution" to expand health-insurance coverage for low-income residents without accepting the Medicaid expansion in President Barack Obama's signature health care law. Social-services advocates and local officials are among those pushing for a compromise measure that gives the state more flexibility than in the law to spend the money available from the federal government to cover more residents (Rosenthal, 8/14).

Austin American-Statesman: County Judges Urge 'Texas Way' To Address Medicaid Coverage Gap
County judges from the state’s six largest counties are urging members of the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee to find a “Texas way” to provide care for 1.9 million Texans living without health care coverage as the state declines to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. In a letter sent Wednesday, judges from Travis, Dallas, El Paso, Harris, Tarrant and Bexar counties said the so-called coverage gap places an expensive burden on urban counties that are required pay for indigent care (McSwane, 8/14).

The Associated Press: Texas Lawmakers Mull Alternatives To Medicaid Expansion
Health and Human Services Commissioner Kyle Janek told the committee that Texas’ Medicaid caseload could increase by 600,000-plus — even though the state isn’t expanding the program under the federal law. Janek said that Affordable Care Act-related Medicaid enrollments may rise from around 90,000 in fiscal year 2014 to more than 722,000 by fiscal year 2017. That's mainly because the law changed income requirements to qualify, meaning more young Texans will move from the state’s children’s health care program to Medicaid (Weissert, 8/14).

The Associated Press: Idaho Work Group Favors Medicaid Expansion
An Idaho work group says the state should expand its Medicaid eligibility, but some committee members voiced concerns that their recommendation will be ignored by both the governor and legislators. The 15-member group voted 10-3 Thursday to submit their recommendation to Gov. Butch Otter. The governor had tasked the panel to evaluate the best health care coverage option for low-income adults (Kruesi, 8/14).

The Spokesman Review: Otter’s Work Group Backs Accepting Medicaid Expansion Funds
More than 100,000 uninsured Idahoans would qualify for health coverage and state and local taxpayers would save $44 million in 2016, under a plan for accepting expanded federal Medicaid funds approved by a working group appointed by Gov. Butch Otter on Thursday. The group's proposal, approved on a 10-3 vote, is just a recommendation to Otter, who will decide what to propose to state lawmakers in January. Three GOP lawmakers who served on the work group cast the dissenting votes (Russell, 8/14).

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